Kittie Howard

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Steen's Cane Syrup; Romantic Friday Writers

My entry for Romantic Friday Writers is further down, after this about Louisiana:

With no disrespect to maple syrup (for it is delicious and natural - I love natural,) I  never tasted maple syrup when I was a kid in South Louisiana. We drizzled Steen's Cane Syrup on our pancakes or French toast. Now, I mention this, not because I'm pushing a product - I'm not - but because I'm reading more and more about cane syrup these days, an alternative to the sweet stuff manufacturers dump into some products. Cane syrup is made from sugar cane, a major crop in Louisiana, and is a natural golden sweetness. 

Since I only enjoyed, never made cane syrup, I turned to Wikipedia for this:  Cane syrup is a concentration of cane juice produced through long cooking in open kettles.  It's sweeter than molasses because no refined sugar is removed. 

There was a time when other companies in the U.S. besides Steen's produced cane syrup.  But as the population acquired a taste for artificial sweeteners and refined sugar, company after company disappeared.  Only Steen's remains.  It's been in business since 1910, still in Abbeville, Louisiana, in the heart of Cajun Country.  The picture's a bit fuzzy (as I enlarged the tiny one from Wikipedia.)  Nevermind.  I love that yellow can.  I hope it doesn't disappear.
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Romantic Friday WritersFor those of you who are new (Hi!), I try to participate in Romantic Friday Writers - didn't make it last week; we had a houseful of guests.  Each week, Denise and Francine post the week's theme.  We have to remain within 400 words.  Now, I'm not a romantic writer and make no pretensions as such.  However, I am in love with Louisiana.  These entries have helped me strengthen verbs and so on for my stories.  I am thankful for that improvement!  (The trailer for my first self-pub, "Remy Broussard's Christmas," is at the top of my sidebar.)

Whether wise or not, I'm continuing with a story line.  Since I can't carry the backstory in 400 words, this is a synopsis:  Pierre dumped Yvette for another gal.  Yvette fled to Hawaii to work for her Aunt Claire in a surfing shop.  Yvette fell into a party-hardy crowd.  Aunt Claire screwed her head on straight.  Ginger, the trust-fund gal who mistakenly got Yvette into that crowd, had pangs of guilt and treated her to a weekend at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel - so she could meet Windsor Smith, her uber-rich, gorgeous cousin.  This week's entry centers on Pierre. (400 words)

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Forgotten (Maybe Not)

Pierre swung himself over the shrimp boat's railing and onto the dock.  About twenty-eight years old, he was tall and muscled-lean, with classic French features.  He adjusted his LSU baseball cap and whistled as he walked toward Chuck's Place, the honky-tonk bar on Grand Isle where shrimpers gathered for cold beer and Cajun music.  A warm afternoon breeze off the Gulf of Mexico fluttered his short-sleeve, unbuttoned shirt.  The tail hung loose over faded jeans.

"Hey!  You stepped on a new penny," a man called.  Pierre stopped.  The man, a shrimper with white hair and gnarled hands, wrapped a final loop of rope to tie-up his shrimp boat.  He then straightened, legs parted to balance waves that lapped the boat.  "Better get that penny before we have bad luck.  We don't need another oil slick."  He pointed to a wood-plank behind Pierre.  The copper coin glistened in the sun, an orb of hope beneath a cloudless blue sky.

"Thanks, Bertrand.  We had a good catch this morning.  Don't want to mess things up."  Pierre turned and reached for the penny.  "Who knows," he laughed.  "If I find enough of these babies, I'll be able to buy my own boat."

"Be careful what you wish for.  I barely made payroll last month."  Bertrand shook his head and disappeared into the boat's cabin.

Pierre shrugged a carefree nonchalance and flipped the coin high.  He missed the catch.  The penny landed on the dock and rolled toward a crevice.  He rushed to grab the coin.  "Damn," he muttered as it fell into the water.

"Why the long face?" Chuck asked, after he popped Pierre's usual, a long-necked beer.

"Oh, nothing important."  Pierre downed a long swig of the beer.  "I dropped a new penny I found into the water.  Hope that sucker didn't take my good luck with it."  He finished the beer.  "How about another?  It's hotter than hell outside."

Chuck placed the second beer in front of Pierre.  "Weren't you with some gal at Mardi Gras who talked about saving pennies for a wedding?"

Pierre froze.  The color drained from his face.  "Yvette," he muttered. "I thought I'd forgotten about her."  He drained the beer and picked at the label with his finger nail.  "Where did you go, Yvette?" he asked himself. He laced his hands around the bottle.  "Why did you return?"

Chuck placed another beer on the counter.  "This one's on me."

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